Excitement is building for the opening of the Trail Riverfront Centre, currently slated for the end of March or first week of April. (Trail Times file photo)

Updated: Trail passes library budget

Trail council approved the library's $510,000 requisition for 2018

As the city continues crunching 2018 budget numbers – the tax hike currently sits around six per cent – Trail council approved the library’s $510,000 requisition at the Monday governance meeting.

“The budget presented by the library board is to maintain existing programs,” Coun. Robert Cacchioni told the Trail Times. “And has additional money for staffing to enhance programs and maybe bring in some new programming, (especially) in the young adult section.”

The board has presented numerous budgets for the new site, though Cacchioni pointed out the approved version is based on 50 hours of weekly operation in an expanded space.

Whittled down, the average residential taxpayer will contribute between $2 and $3 more each month – or $28 to $32 annually – to run the new library.

The nominal increase falls in line with what the city projected during the 2014 library referendum, Cacchioni clarified

“That matches what we originally anticipated.”

Colleen Jones, board chair, reasoned the transition from old location to new necessitates an increase to library staff as the new site has two floors.

“The board is suggesting an increase of two part-time circulation clerks and two part-time pages,” she noted. “In comparison, the requisition amount for the Nelson Public Library in 2016 was $608,940.”

The library has held the line on office and overhead expenses for years, computers are used until they are no longer useable, and the collection budget is reduced whenever necessary, she said.

Programs are a two per cent budget item that provide an amazing service to the public, Jones added.

“They provide the opportunity to all families, regardless of income, to develop a life long love of reading, literacy, and the ability to self educate. In comparison, the Nelson and Castlegar Libraries spend a similar amount each year. The programs attract patrons who might not have used a library before.”

The approved increase amounts to $54,700 over $455,500 last year, an increase of 12 per cent, clarified Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff.

“Further, the city is now taking on directly all building operating costs.”

In the old memorial centre facility, the public library paid the city rent.

“The final 50 per cent cost was eliminated in 2018, thereby saving the library an additional $22,000, over the $54,700,” Perehudoff explained. “Therefore the net increase would be in the order of 16.9 per cent over the previous year. For a library of its size, Trail is very well funded in comparison to other libraries in B.C. and its board has ensured council that the additional funding is required and will be put to good use.”